29 Sep2014


This is simple food. Brought up just a notch. I am pretty sure that most readers don’t regularly eat this type of delicious and nutritious side salads (best enjoyed with broiled or fried fish or meats) because they rarely get to markets to buy fresh kamote tops and fewer and fewer people are eating homemade food. But this is precisely the kind of dish we should eat more frequently and serve proudly in restaurants as well…


Basically, you take fresh talbos ng kamote and cut off the tips and some of the young leaves, then blanche it in boiling water for 10 seconds or so, and immediately scoop them out of the water into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Don’t be alarmed by the near jet black water that remains. I have always wondered why we don’t eat this raw, but I have only ever seen it served blanched, so I have to research a bit to ensure I won’t get some violent reaction to eating the leaves raw.


The step of shocking them in cold water is typically not done in most homes, but I find it keeps the leaves “fresher” and more appetizing. Drain well on paper towels (I used a spinner as well) and prepare the other ingredients. If you do this well before your meal, and stick them in the fridge, the leaves tend to go darker, so try to do this at the last minute.


Next I made a dressing (the notch up)… I used some patis or fish sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, sliced siling labuyo (it was wicked spicy that little chili) a touch of brown sugar and a bit of water. It was more a vietnamese or thai inspired dressing. Locally it is typically made with either vinegar or kalamansi and some fish sauce and chilies. I sliced up some red onions and let them pickle briefly in the dressing to remove their sharp edge.


Add some sliced ripe tomatoes, some julienned cucumber (not typical, but I wanted some crunch and they worked nicely) and the dressing and voila! a quick and healthy side dish. I think good fish sauce and lime or kalamansi work really well with the blanched greens and other ingredients. That’s the photo all the way up top. For this final photo, I got snazzy and baked some cubed pieces of sweet potato with a touch of olive oil and salt and added them on top for color, texture and taste. They looked and tasted pretty good, but didn’t really go with the rest of the salad…so I wouldn’t do that again.



  1. Connie C says:

    This is a salad staple in our household. I have my camote plants growing in 3 large container pots on my deck ready to be harvested 2-3 times a week. My housekeeper jests we might turn into butterflies the way we eat camote tops.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 4:44 am


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  3. greens & blossoms says:

    We just had this salad the other night with fried fish…our dressing vinegar, water and sugar…we add slices of hard boiled egg on top…and like Connie, we grow our own camote tops in containers too….

    Sep 29, 2014 | 6:41 am

  4. ami says:

    Looks like camote tops are not limited to the markets. I just saw some being sold in Makati Supermarket in Alabang (why didn’t they just rename it to Alabang Supermarket no?) yesterday.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 9:35 am

  5. Toping says:

    Ganas! Definitely a staple in our household. I like the green ones better though. If you use the purple ones. don’t let the boiling liquid go to waste; it’s packed with vitamins and gives juice a nice color.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 11:30 am

  6. january says:

    we normally add spanish sardines to blanched camote tops :)

    Sep 29, 2014 | 11:49 am

  7. may says:

    our version of ensaladang talbos ng kamote is served with soy sauce & kalamansi dressing. aside from the tomatoes and onions we add red salted eggs. best side dish for inihaw na liempo. i agree with Toping, the camote tops juice(boiling liquid) can be made into a healthy & refreshing drink by adding kalamansi juice and brown sugar served with ice.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 4:08 pm

  8. Ed B says:

    Instead of fish sauce we usually use bagoong balayan with calamansi as a dip for the talbos. :D

    Sep 29, 2014 | 4:29 pm

  9. Footloose says:

    We had easily accessible sources of both talbos ng kamote and kangkong but whenever mother polled us kids, we overwhelmingly opted for talbos, specially as a stand-alone side dish. Outside of home, I simply kept my distance from kangkong on account of dubious provenance.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 7:54 pm

  10. KRon says:

    The quality of kamote tops and other vegetable greens available in Metro manila aren’t so bad, though in general those from wet markets, ambulant vendors and specialty weekend markets somehow top those from big supermarkets. Of course if you’re used to just picking your own from some plots/plants a few meters away from your kitchen, you’re spoiled forever and nothing will ever come close. Being a true-blue Ilocano, my preferred dressing or sawsawan for boiled/blanched greens is bagoong isda/balayan, with kalamansi or sukang Iloko, though recently I’m learning to like sweet-spicy Vietnamese style fish sauce mixes as well.

    Sep 29, 2014 | 8:45 pm

  11. Sgboy says:

    Our indonesian neighbors cook this with coconut milk, turmeric, dilis, chilis and dried shrimps – laing style, using the fresh fresh sweet potato leaves. I’ve been eating the dish in padangs for quite a while without knowing its the same sweetpotato leaves used to combat my sister’s anemia back in the days…

    Sep 29, 2014 | 11:44 pm

  12. Tina says:

    You can also add grated green mangoes for some crunch and texture in this type of salad.

    Oct 1, 2014 | 10:23 am

  13. passive.observer says:

    i like this with bagoong and fried eggs! perfect with fried tawilis and dilis!

    Oct 1, 2014 | 7:35 pm

  14. Kasseopeia says:

    I really really miss this and this is the first salad I will have when I get back to the ‘Pines. Not that the abundance of salad veggies here is anything to scoff at but talbos ng kamote is in a class by itself. I usually blanch for just under 45 seconds then shock and spin. Then eat with binagoongan, adobo, fried fish, or grilled meat.

    I also like it with sliced tomatoes, bagoong alamang, and a splash of vinegar.

    Oct 2, 2014 | 5:04 am

  15. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    That’s a genius preparation of kamote leaves. I’m not a big fan because I always find the leaves with a soaply/slimy aftertaste. I’m hoping the extra step of shocking the blanched leaves in ice water to help change my mind. Yes, I agree. Too many Filipino restaurants focus on celebration dishes and ignore true home cooking such as simply fried fish/grilled meats, rice and greens.

    Oct 2, 2014 | 2:14 pm

  16. chichay says:

    One pretty cheap and healthy salad!:-))

    Oct 2, 2014 | 5:12 pm

  17. Lava Bien says:

    I still do that here in the Yay Area. Sometimes mixed with fresh talbos ng ampalaya and bulaklak ng kalabasa. I gets my fiber on. lol

    Oct 5, 2014 | 10:49 pm

  18. chille says:

    A truly healthy treat for losing weight. Nice with lots of kalamansi , red tomatoes, sliced ginger and a little of bagoong. I drink the juice as is, no sweeteners.

    Jan 17, 2015 | 6:24 pm


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